Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My "Pre-existing Condition"? I Still Have Teeth.

I love the movies and I love popcorn. The addiction goes back to my formative years, because my dad made the best popcorn in the world, and he would pop up a huge batch and the family would pile in the car and head to the drive-in theater in Appleton or New London.

I shudder to think how much Crisco I consumed between the ages of 3 and 17.
My love of popcorn has often run me afoul of the dental authorities, and a few days back I busted a tooth nearly in half munching down on an unpopped seed. Yesterday, I spent a half-hour in the dentist’s chair. The dentist - Dr. Sweeny, who took over my mouth when Dr. Buescher retired, delivered the expected news.
More on that in a moment.

I like my dentist’s office. It’s not like the one-man-show that Dr. Cousineau operated when I was growing up in Hortonville. I go to Dental Health Associates in Fitchburg, and they must have a couple dozen dentists and a phalanx of other employees. I go there because the Friday before the Super Bowl in 1989 I had a dental emergency, had just moved here from L-A, and my colleague (who would later become my wife) gave me her dentist’s number.

Dr. Buescher saw me that day, patched me up, and gave me his HOME telephone number in case I had a problem over the weekend. Yes, Super Bowl weekend. Any football fan willing to risk interruption during the big game is a professional I want to be associated with.

Back then, he was in a much smaller shop on Wingra Street, but they’ve grown to be a huge operation. It’s like old home week when I go in this big new office on Chapel Valley Road - my dental hygienist, Nancy, spots me in the lobby and we visit about our kids. When they put me in the chair, Annie pops in to say hi and give me some grief about the Brewers. She and my wife are big Cubs fans and thick as thieves. I’ve known Nancy and Annie for years.

Dr. Sweeny comes in and we recount the shocking ending of the Packers game Sunday. Then, down to business. Long story short, the tooth I busted is next to a hole where a tooth was extracted back in 2002. They said I could get along without a bridge back then, so I did.

But that was 2002, and now it’s 2010, and this busted tooth now needs at least a crown. As Dr. Sweeny points out, NOW is the time, if ever there was a time, to put a bridge in and really repair the upper left side of my mouth and fill that gaping hole. No sense putting a crown on now, and then cutting it off if we decide to go with a bridge down the road.

A crown is a grand; a bridge is three grand. The crown will be covered by my wife’s excellent (and expensive) dental insurance. But a bridge….not likely. Why? Because, as I understand it, this insurance company calls my 2002 extraction a “pre-existing condition”. I had a different insurer back then, and when we changed companies in 2008….bingo: pre-existing conditions suddenly materialized around that hole in my head.

Ya gotta love the insurance racket. They’re as good at saying “no” as bankers are these days.

I say, let’s make it a toll bridge, and I’ll be partners with the insurance company

1 comment:

  1. Why not go with the crown? You've gotten along without a bridge for several years; what are the odds that you'll decide to go with one "down the road" and need to cut the crown out?